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With hate crimes soaring, New York leaders speak out at symposium on hate at Manhattan synagogue

Leaders call for stronger hate crime laws during symposium at Manhattan synagogue
Leaders call for stronger hate crime laws during symposium at Manhattan synagogue 02:58

NEW YORK -- There were strong words from Mayor Eric Adams and Gov. Kathy Hochul on Monday as New York attempts to push back against the continued rise in antisemitism crimes. 

New York City has experienced a significant rise in hate crimes since Adams took office.

The single biggest increase is in attacks against Jewish people, including a troubling incident in Brooklyn on Sunday - hours before the Orthodox Union hosted a symposium on antisemitic hate crimes. 

You can't hear it on security camera footage, but the men who chased Yeshiva students down Avenue J near East 16th Street in East Flatbush and shot at them with a stun gun were reportedly yelling, "Run Jews, get out of here." 

That's what the teenage victims told members of the Shmira Public Safety Unit, which released the video as Adams called for a zero-tolerance policy for those who spew hate. 

"There should be no plea bargaining rule if you are arrested for hate crimes. No plea bargaining," said Adams. "You should not have that assault downgraded to harassment." 

Adams and Hochul joined Sen. Chuck Schumer and Homeland Security Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas, the son of Holocaust survivors, at the symposium on hate at Lincoln Square Synagogue on the Upper West Side. 

"When an act of hate is perpetrated against one, the attack is against us all," said Mayorkas. "According to the Anti-Defamation League, there were 2,717 incidents of antisemitism across the United States in 2021, a 34 percent increase over the prior year." 

New York City experienced a 125% increase in hate crimes last month, which came after former Pres. Donald Trump met with Kanye West, who has been spewing antisemitic and pro-Hitler rhetoric, and a white supremacist. 

There were 45 antisemitic hate crimes last month, according to the NYPD, compared to 20 in Nov. 2021.

"When antisemitism rears its head and reaches the horrible levels we have seen, if we don't speak out, it grows deeper and deeper," said Schumer. "'Blame the Jew' has always been the scapegoat for those who are anguished about other things."

Adams urged a public campaign against social media platforms that allow hate speech. 

"They have a social and corporate responsibility to use artificial intelligence and algorithms to identify those with hateful speech, hateful rhetoric and hateful recruitment, and immediately stop them from proliferating social media and poisoning minds and radicalizing individuals," said Adams. 

He also called for tougher laws against hate crimes. 

"We have been on a fast track in this city and in this country to pass laws that protect guilty people. When do we pass laws to protect people who do the right thing?" said Adams. 

Hochul said she is establishing a hate bias unit within the Division of Human Rights to lead a public education and outreach campaign. 

"This is going to be part of a statewide initiative, going to all 62 counties to educate and also be an early warning system. Let people know when you spot this, you see something your child is doing on social media and it concerns you, we can be in the prevention business as well," said Hochul. 

The NYPD said it is investigating the Flatbush incident as a hate crime and seeking to identify the people involved. Officials are asking people with information to call 911 or the Shmira Public Safety Patrol. 

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